Nick Redfern called Three Men Seeking Monsters.
I had such a good time with it, that afterward I went to You Tube and found an interview with Redfern on his latest ufology treatise, Final Events: A book about a covert U.S. government research group that made a link between UFOs and demonology way back in the 50s.
Although many people do not realize it, UFO researchers have been making connections between UFOs and monsters for decades. Wherever UFOs show up, Bigfoot, phantom cats, spectral cavement, sea serpents, and dragons are not far behind.
Some witnesses have reported the emergence of cryptid animals from what can only be described as a small, luminous UFO. Other witnesses see these creatures vanish in a flash of light that, again, is more remniscent of ufology than zoology.
Hot spots for UFO activity frequently overlap with cryptid hotspots. In fact, several mainstream UFO researchers have admitted to Redfern privately that they are aware of this, but because it does not fit their own theories or the theories of their readers, they try to ignore it.
Three Men Seeking Monsters and Final Events examine this link between UFOs and other paranormal phenomena such demons, cryptids, time slips, channeling, possession, and occult magical traditions head on. So far I've only just read this single book by Redfern, but a quick scan of his other titles suggests this theme runs through most of his work and has become more focused over time.
Redfern is neither the first nor the only researcher to reject the ET hypothesis and conclude that UFOs have a paranormal or occult origin. John Keel came to the same conclusion back in the late 60s, followed by Jacques Vallee--the inspiration for the Frenchman in Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind in the 70s and 80s.
Keel eventually came to see UFOs as demonic in the Christian sense of '"something evil and deceptive that is up to no good spiritually and practically." Toward the end of his career Keel became obsessed with U.S. intelligence involvement in the occult and in Nazi mind control techniques.
I'm not saying that's all paranoid hysteria on Keel's part. It may well be true, at least in part. But it is one murky pail of creepy slimy stuff that, thus far, I haven't really had the stomach to dissect.
Vallee noted after spending some years writing about these phenomena that anyone who does any amount of research into them enters a twisted world of high strangeness that just gets more slippery with every new bit of evidence and every new firsthand report.
Some writers go over the edge and never come back. It happens.
Vallee did not believe it was possible (at least not yet) to know what the motives of the 'aliens' in question actually are, but he argued convincingly that whatever they are up to, they've been getting up to it right here on planet Earth for thousands of years.
Vallee's best guess was that the 'aliens' are engaged in shaping human culture and consciousness by means of mythic intervention: a really interesting idea that he took no end of abuse for floating.
It bothered Vallee greatly that UFOlogists as a group tend to edit out the stranger elements of encounters in order to make UFO reports fit the 'visitors-from-space' explanation. Vallee felt that this was just bad methodology, a concern that Redfern shares, and one that has always bothered me as well and that I've written about here in this blog maybe a little too much.
Redfern is closer to Vallee in his outlook than he is to Keel, although there were times reading Three Men in Search of Monsters and listening to the interview when I felt like Redfern was definitely leaning toward seeing UFOs, monsters, and other paranormal phenomena as more malignant than friendly. If you come to see them as being generated (or at least summoned) magically, it's hard not to at least get a case of the willies. I mean, you'd have to be dead not to feel that.
But what does it all mean? That's harder to parse.
Redfern explains that both aliens and monsters do seem to feed on human emotion and belief, and that the emotion of fear seems to be an especially tasty treat for them. Therefore, these paranormal entities will try to generate as much of that emotion as they possibly can, and they seem to become all the stronger to the degree that they are successful in doing so. This is not the same thing as saying they are imaginary and fed by our fears. They're real enough, but not real in the way we are used to.
I've noticed this bit about fear and belief and deception myself and, again, I've spent rather more time thinking about it than is probably healthy. For me, it's a riddle. Although I experience bursts of fear and an occasional case of the heeby jeebies when delving into this stuff, in general I don't get scared by it very easily anymore.
At this point in my life, I just want to know WTF.
I realize I might not find out before I die, but I'd like to.
Hence this blog. And my infatuation with bad 50s sci fi.
Anyway, as we approach Halloween, when the veil between this world and theirs grows thin and things start to go bump in the night, if you're looking for a good read about men, monsters, aliens, and the virtues of punk rock music, you could do way worse than anything written by Nick Redfern.
Well, gotta go. I hear something growling by the back door...
P.S.--A film based on Three Men Seeking Monsters is due out in 2013. Hope they don't muck it up, because the book is way cool.